Access for All People

Type 2 diabetes is not easy to live with. When you live with a chronic disease that requires medication and supplies, you need access to those things. Easy access. I have been reading about the people with type 2 diabetes that have, or in many cases do not have, access to those vital things around the world. I live in a country where health care for all is valued. I live in a province that, I think, is pretty good at ensuring all have access. Is the system perfect? No. I am however very grateful for what I, and many others, can access with little difficulty.

At present, I am still working, more by choice than by need. I am part of a union who has supported, fought and succeeded in securing drug and benefit coverage that most of the time is quite amazing. The drug and benefit company on top of that is remarkably supportive and helpful. I rarely feel it’s about their bottom dollar even though I know it is. I’m not naive. I know my employer pays big bucks into the benefits. I also know I pay into it in one way or another. I guess because the cost to me is not so obvious or limiting, I am ok with it and feel very lucky.

If I were not working because I could not due to physical or mental health issues, then there is a system in place to care for me. If I did not know the value of working because I had not been taught that from my parents or grandparents, then again, there is a system in place to care for me as I learn. These systems are not perfect either but at least our citizens can access what they need. Yes, they may be getting a less expensive, acceptable alternative in some cases but they have access. Is it enough? No. Not by a long shot.

How can you stay healthy if you can’t get access to what you need?

There are still people who fall through the cracks in my country’s system of caring for all. There are those that no matter how much advocacy, or begging the Certified Diabetes Educators do on behalf of their patients, they still come up short. This is the part that breaks my heart. How can we live in such a rich country, with so much to offer and still see those who cannot access what they need?

So I ask myself, what can I do? My answer: I’m not really sure. I recently joined Diabetes Canada, our national advocacy organization, to see if somewhere I can play a role in helping others, like myself, who live with type 2 diabetes get access to what they need without breaking the system, that although not perfect, is a step in the right direction. I am so very fortunate to have access to what I need to be living healthy with diabetes that I want others to have that as well before the bad complications happen to them.

As a society we have to act together to ensure we are constantly improving access to what is needed, to care for our society, our ‘family.’ From the wisdom of a children’s movie, Lilo and Stitch:

“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.... or forgotten."

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